Find Your Next TALES FROM THE LOOP Story Hook From M.J.’s THRILLER Album

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Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the biggest album of the 1980s. It changed the face of popular music, made Jackson a massive solo pop star and helped usher in the era of music video. Out of the nine tracks on the album, seven were released as singles. Many of these songs are embedded in the brains of fans of the  Tales From the Loop who themselves roleplay in the ’80s that never was. Music from the era is an important part of the game, from asking players to chose their character’s favorite songs, to including a mystery mixtape of plot hooks based on song titles (like this one).


We decided to try our hand at our own mystery mixtape based on the seven singles from this blockbuster album in the hopes of inspiring GMs to take the game for a spin. Feel free to leave your own song title adventure hooks in the comments!

“The Girl Is Mine”

The Kids have dealt with all sorts of strange experiences from the Loop, but they are about to embark on one of the strangest: the Valentine’s Day dance. The weirdness of new feelings clashes with the creepy red mist that’s slowly circling around the Kids’ school the day of the dance. What sort of creatures are in the fog? And what does the old bomb shelter underneath the school building have that the Kids need to use to dispel the fog?

“Billie Jean”

A mysterious figure starts following the Kids around their usual haunts; the mall, the kiosks, even their school. When confronted, the person makes a startling claim; one of the kids is adopted and they are the true parent. To make matters stranger, the mysterious person claims to be from an alternate reality and the Kid is from the other reality too! Is the mysterious stranger telling the truth? Is it a misunderstanding? Is the mysterious person an employee that’s just cracked under the pressure?

“Beat It”


What’s worse than a school bully? A school bully with a device stolen from the Loop’s Experimental Personal Tech Department! The Kids are the only ones willing to stand up to a bully wielding supertech. What does the bully’s device do? What happened to the adults in charge of the device? Where can the Kids find tech to counteract the bully’s weapon or the information to shut it down?

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”

Tensions between the Kids and their older siblings often run hot and cold, but a dinner table argument gets weird when the older sibling smashes the dinner table in half. Snooping kids soon discover the sibling is injecting a glowing green liquid on a regular basis. Is it a new street drug being supplied by a disgruntled ex-Loop employee? A high school science project gone wrong?

“Human Nature”

It’s fairly rare for the Kids to get out after dark in the city, but one of their parents sprung for a birthday party lock-in at the Wizard’s Arcade! When their parents don’t come to pick them up at midnight, the Kids discover that the city is empty of adults. What happens when they see a teenager fade away before their eyes? Or when they run across some bad kids doing bad things? And what does it all have to do with the strange sounds being broadcast from the city’s most popular radio station?

“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”


A new teacher at school always turns heads but it doesn’t take long for the Kids to discover Ms. Nilsson’s secret. She’s some sort of machine made to look human that still needs to plug into the power grid to recharge. Does the school know she’s a machine? Who is Ms. Nilsson running from? What happens when one of the Kids single parents asks her out on a date?


A spooky season around the Loop is always a blast as kids try to outdo each other with crazy costumes. Zombies sure seem to be popular this year…hey, wait, those are actual zombies! The Kids go from trick or treating to finding safe shelters that the zombies inevitably break into. Their only true respite is their Hideout but will they be able to survive till dawn, when everyone returns back to normal and writes off any zombie bites as just a dream?

What’s your favorite 80’s song? Let us know in the comments!

More Tales From the Loop!

Join Us For our Tales From the Loop Holiday Special


If you love the 80s and roleplaying, you’ll definitely want to catch our Tales From The Loop Holiday Special, starting Wednesday, December 5th at 9:30 Pacific on Alpha and  Twitch.  It’s part 2 of the holiday special (part 1 is available for subscribers of Alpha and Twitch through VOD). Since music is an important part of the game, you’ll definitely want to check out the Spotify playlists from the cast of the show (like GM Kelly d’Angelo’s playlist below).

Images Credits: Free League, Sony

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. His Twitter is  here. You can watch him livestream RPGs  with the Theatre of the Mind Players here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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